Gigi Hadid's billionaire property developer father may be swapping megamansion for micro prison cell!

Published December 22nd, 2015 - 11:07 GMT
Gigi Hadid's land developer father may be heading to jail soon? (Courtesy of Cosmopolitan)
Gigi Hadid's land developer father may be heading to jail soon? (Courtesy of Cosmopolitan)

Supermodel Gigi Hadad's father could go from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to Real Inmate of Bel Air in the latest twist in the saga of a huge megamansion he has built in the millionaires' enclave in Los Angeles.

A judge in Van Nuys, California, ruled on Wednesday that developer Mohamed Hadid must answer criminal complaints over the construction that the city claims is a whopping 9,000 sq. ft. bigger than it should be.

Until that decision only Hadid's limited liability company and his long-time associate, Virginia attorney James Zelloe, had been named on the criminal complaint filed by Los Angeles City Attorney.

'We are pleased with this decision. It is the right thing,' Fred Rosen, head of the Bel Air Homeowners Alliance told Daily Mail Online in an exclusive interview.

'When a person has been holding himself out to be the owner and then suddenly he says that he doesn't know anything about it, there has to be accountability.

'Everybody has to be held accountable to the rules of the community they live in,' added the former president and CEO of Ticketmaster. 'That's what separates us from animals.'

The battle over the hilltop house — which the developer calls The Modern House of Hadid but detractors have nicknamed Starship Enterprise — has been raging for years. Neighbors now fear that heavy El Nino-fed storms, predicted for the first three months of next year, could bring about massive landslides because work on the mansion has made the land unstable.

Following Wednesday's court decision, Hadid, 67, faces three misdemeanor charges. They claim he built the massive home on Strada Vecchia Road without obtaining all permits and licenses, that he failed to make the building conform to code, and that he refused to comply with an order to stop work.

Although potentially he could face jail, legal experts believe it highly unlikely he will be sentenced to hard time. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Monday morning.

Palestine-born Hadid, who has three children including Gigi and fellow model Bella Hadid from his six-year marriage to Real Housewife Yolanda Foster, did not respond to Daily Mail Online's request for comment.

Photo: Mohamed with his three children from Yolanda Foster. (Celebrity Money)

However, within hours of the court's decision to add his name to the criminal complaint he sent out a message on Instagram saying: 'The higher you get, the more people want to climb just to knock you down. Just remember, only a fraction realize their own dreams and will ever reach where you are.'

Entertainment lawyer Joe Horacek, whose house lies directly beneath Hadid's 30,000 sq. ft. property said: 'That quote just shows the arrogance and the fundamental disregard this man has for the law.'

Neighbors had been pressing for Hadid to be added to the criminal complaint, claiming he was hiding behind his company. 'We feel very vindicated,' Horaceck said.

Daily Mail Online revealed in July how Hadid's 89-year-old wheelchair-bound neighbor Carole Cramer had accused the developer of stealing her land to put up a retaining wall for his property.

'He's a terrible man,' Cramer, who once sung with the Tommy Dorsey Big Band said. 'He came into my garden and told my gardener I have so much land and that I don't use and said I was a b****,' she added.

'He told me, "Why do you need the land? You can't use it, but I need it," I just told him "Leave and never come back up here again." He's a liar.'

Another neighbor, Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, also claims Hadid built a retaining wall on her property. She is suing for $90,000 saying the work 'cut the roots to the family's cherished eucalyptus tree causing it severe damage and putting it at risk of falling over.'

Hadid doesn't even have a buyer for the 67 ft. high property that soars 31 ft. over Los Angeles's property height limit. He and other developers in the Bel Air area have built huge homes on speculation in the hope they will be snapped up by super-rich Russians, Chinese or Arabs.

Despite having only six parking spaces, the house has a 70-seat IMAX theater and enough room for parties with hundreds of guests.

The city claims he has ignored 10 stop-work orders. Horacek said it is not clear whether ongoing work on the property is to attempt to bring the building into compliance or whether it is more construction as it is covered by tarps and plywood from public view.

The LA Board of Building and Safety Commissioners voted unanimously to order Hadid to rip out whole floors of the seven-story home, including the theater as well as concrete decks and retaining walls.

Neighbors fear the noise would be terrible if it is ever inhabited — but they also worry that Hadid may just leave it to rot, adding to worries about the hill's stability — especially this winter when El Nino storms are expected.

Hadid threatened to do just that in a text to Horacek earlier this year. He said: 'We are shutting down the job permanently. You won joe. You are the greatest warrior for belair. You won the battle and the war. You should be proud of your self. I am going to just let the building rot.'

Horacek said he has no complaints about building huge homes, but Hadid's is just in the wrong place. 'I know this has been characterized as a fight between millionaires and billionaires and the millionaires are jealous of the billionaires' money - but it bears no resemblance to that,' he told Daily Mail Online.

'I have this peaceful little place that is so private and then all of a sudden this guy comes along for no purpose other than total greed and builds this massive structure.

'I tell you, he did it to the wrong person. He is finally getting someone standing up to him.'

Horacek has taken dozens of pictures that he says show how Hadid sealed up windows to five illegally-built bedrooms, shrouded the building in green tarp to hide the scaffolding beneath and continued work when he should have stopped.

His files on the case contain thousands of pages of documents. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees and estimates that the time he has put in himself would have cost some $3 million in billable hours.

Hadid was married to Foster from 1994-2000. He is now engaged to Iranian-born model Shiva Safai.

He has a checkered history that has included him filing for bankruptcy eight times since 1996, Daily Mail Online has discovered. Nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed against him alleging issues as varied as fraud, substandard construction and trademark infringement and at least 15 liens have been put on his property for unpaid debts.

He was born in Nazareth but his family moved around the Middle East when he was young. While Hadid was in his teens they relocated to Washington, D.C. where his father worked for Voice of America.

He later dropped out of college and started his business career with a nightclub on the Greek vacation island of Rhodes before moving back to Washington and starting a business importing classic Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. He later founded the company that made him his first fortune exporting heavy equipment to oil-rich Middle Eastern states

Previous battles have seen him fighting with Sylvester Stallone, who called him 'an unscrupulous, unlicensed predator,' after working on the Rocky actor's home, and with Donald Trump, who he outflanked in a multi-million dollar land deal in Aspen, Colorado.

He has built many Ritz Carlton hotels and several megamansions. He built the Holmby Hills home where Michael Jackson died and sold a Beverly Hills home to Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the glamorous daughter of Uzbekistan's dictator, for $32.75 million, according to LA.Curbed, which described his current Bel Air project as 'relatively pared back' when it saw the original plans in 2013.

At that time the house was due to be 20,000 sq. ft. with an asking price of $45 million, but as building went on, Hadid added more and more, increasing the size by 50 percent and adding floors going down the hillside.

Now Horacek says he wants the whole house demolished and the hillside restored to its original state. He said that as Hadid has had his permits revoked he now has to apply for new ones — and he is unlikely to get them as building codes in LA have become much stricter since his were originally granted. 

By Martin Gould

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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